Musicscan: First of all: does it frighten you somehow that so many people and musicians praise FALLUJAH for being innovative, visionary, and “different”? How do you feel about what you are doing with the band?
Fallujah: It's hard to be frightened by it, because I find this sort of praise to be exciting and motivating. The reason we make music is to challenge and excite people; so when we can do that and see the recognition from our fans, it reaffirms that we as a band are doing our job.
Musicscan: A friend of mine once said after listening to one of your previous releases: this is for nerdy people played by nerds. Do you see any truth in this? ,-)
Fallujah: He isn't exactly wrong, but I don't know If I could accurately describe Fallujah as "nerdy". We are weirdos for sure, but we are more-so in the business of making fun/dynamic music, not flexing our brain muscles trying to "out-tech" everyone else.
Musicscan: Personally I sometimes think that FALLUJAH is about musical education of listeners in some ways. What do you think about this impression? Is this something you are heading for?
Fallujah: This is correct, because Fallujah takes influence from so many different places, that we want someone to listen to a Fallujah record and realize that there is an abundance of quality music out there; all of which can be harnessed in a metal context.
Musicscan: What exactly does FALLUJAH sound like from your point of view? Is it any kind of departure to what people might expect from you if you think of reviews and fan reaction. Do you feel “understood” to say so?
Fallujah: We see a lot of terminology on the internet or in interviews that sort of disappoints us. I think as we approach the release of this record, we become increasingly less satisfied with people still referring to us as a "tech-death" band. We don't fit in with those bands, and I dont think its a niche that we have any enthusiasm being stuck in. I think Fallujah is a hard band to really put a definitive label on, but then again what band doesn't say that?
Musicscan: In general: how do you feel about your place within the heavy scene at all as well as in between tradition and gaining new ground to bring forth what the metal heroes you grew up with did before FALLUJAH were around? Times and sounds changed a lot since you once started, but you kept on developing a sound of your own…
Fallujah: Fallujah's place in the scene is ever growing and changing. I don't think we would ever find ourselves satisfied with where we are, which constantly pushes us to go bigger. Looking back at some of my favorite bands as a child, Fallujah is a bigger band now than they ever were. But getting caught up in the ideas and perceptions of your career is counter-productive. Your goal should be to move forward, never to settle.
Musicscan: Would it be fair to say that you found a new identity -or at least musical quality- with Dreamless? What were bands goals for the album, and were they reached, or perhaps altered along the way?
Fallujah: We wanted to make an album that was much more balanced but also fun in a live setting. We really aimed to have songs that would kill in the live setting yet provide all the different emotions that Fallujah is known for delivering. We are always growing as people, so I don't think we could rewrite the same album twice. Each album should have a new identity, otherwise what are you actually hoping to achieve?
Musicscan: Has it been harder coming up with new ideas this time for Dreamless? What did you guys do differently for the new album that you hadn't done previously to keep things progressing?
Fallujah: The approach was the same as previous records, yet we wanted to focus on emotions and feelings rather than just 'parts'. We would watch a film, or listen to a film score, and then ask ourselves how we feel during a scene or specific moment. We wrote songs that harnessed those emotions, which I've never heard of another metal band doing. I think when you focus on how you want a song to make you feel, it changes your outlook on how to execute.
Musicscan: Everyone is always speaking about the so-called difficult 3rd album of a band. How did you experience creating your 3rd record? Is it kind of a different thing to write new songs, now that you are well experienced and skilled with your instruments and with your sound after all the touring you did?
Fallujah: No, I think for us we view this record more as a 'follow-up', since The Harvest Wombs was more underground and kind of a sleeper-hit. The band began to get real attention after The Flesh Prevails, so we knew this record had to be crushing. Even with that in mind, whether we had the pressure we have now, or if we were still an underground act that nobody cared about, we would still write the same record. Circumstance does not alter our desire to make great music, the advantage is we have a solid fanbase that is waiting to absorb it.
Musicscan: You surely remember when you wrote your first song for/with FALLUJAH and what it felt like and know how it feels like now when you finish a song. How has your relationship to the music and your songs changed/develop over time?
Fallujah: It sometimes feels like it was a different band. We were so young, writing songs in our disgustingly hot houses and garages. We just wanted to sound like the bands we liked. I feel my whole view on music and being in a band has evolved like night and day. I was 15 when I started this band with Scott, we are now 24 with an abundance of experience behind us. If you still have the same goals and mindset you did when you were a teenager, there is something seriously wrong with you.
Musicscan: What is your attitude towards your songwriting in general? The style you are playing is technical, but so far i always had the feeling that you were heading for real songwriting with a good flow within the songs while having also the live setting in mind...
Fallujah: Song structure and execution are really important factors. So much metal is structured based on a sequential 'part-part-part' framework. Songs need to have characterizing elements and being tied in together to take on their own personality. Over time we realized that repetition is not a band thing, and that planning your structures in advance really helps makes songs and albums feel like their own.
Musicscan: Regarding the songwriting: do you still have to deal with limitations, or are you in a position to realize all the ideas you have?
Fallujah: Every band has their limitations; but as for ours, the only ones we feel are those in our own heads. We don't have a label or manager that expect a certain sound from us, nor do they coach us on how to write music. We are not a band that makes music easily, so we have to deal with our own attention to detail and unwillingness to compromise.
Musicscan: There are so many surprises to find within your songs. But: is this something you are heading for by choice or accident? And regarding all the influences of FALLUJAH: how difficult is it to choose between all of them, and are there any styles that you would never consider to include into your songs?
Fallujah: We strive to surprise the listener and give him something he isn't expecting. We do everything by choice, very rarely will a part affect the listener in a way we dont intend it to. We don't really choose our influences, our influences choose us. We listen to our own styles of music and make music unconsciously of that. When you wear your influences too much on your sleeve the music becomes formulaic and cliche.
Musicscan: Right at the moment I like to think that Dreamless shows an even more atmospheric and emotional side of FALLUJAH beside it is heavy and technical of course. But very universal heavy music can be discovered on your new album. How do you feel about this short description?
Fallujah: This description pretty much sums it up. We like to offer a diverse palette to the listener. We want the songs excite people and also extract emotions.
Musicscan: FALLUJAH consists of well-skilled musicians with lots of crazy ideas: but do you sometimes have to prevent yourselves from getting too technical to stay memorable? It’s obvious, that it is an important thing for you to write songs with a good dramaturgy and contrasts…
Fallujah: This mainly comes from self-reflection. Sometimes after working on a part for days you realize that you are wasting time on a lost cause. Its strange how you can spend days on a mundane part, yet the memorable sections can happen in an instant. That's just how creativity works.
Musicscan: And as you are playing pretty technical music: do you think it is necessary to create a certain distance between you and the music in order to get a better understanding of its inherent quality – how do you handle such questions within the songwriting process?
Fallujah: Distance in scope, yes. You have to view your songs as part of an 'album'. You have to take a step back sometimes and realize that you can't have 5 of the same sounding songs one after another. Scope is the most important thing in making a cohesive record and assigning goals with different songs can be beneficial.
Musicscan: As far as lyrical themes go, could you give us a little insight into it, please. Is there an underlying idea behind the album that can stand for the record as a whole?
Fallujah: The songs on Dreamless all refer to various films that I draw parallels with in my own life. Some songs portray specific themes, others more minute moments in a film and the backstory behind them. The lyrical have to connect with the emotions that the film itself projects on to you.
Musicscan: Lastly: what do you want people to take away from Dreamless?
Fallujah: I want people to look at Dreamless as an album that is truly trying to shake up the pot in a genre plagued by monotony and cliche. I feel the listener has a plethora of feelings that can be evoked by listening to this album, and I hope that the listener can feel the same things we felt while creating it.